BLAYNEY has stood down embattled captain-coach Terawhiti Cooper for Sunday’s must-win Group 10 premier league clash with the Oberon Tigers.
Reacting to a jibe from an opposition spectator, Cooper was involved in an ugly verbal spat with the Carrington Park crowd after being sin binned in the Bears’ 60-16 loss to the Bathurst Panthers last Sunday.
The spray, which included threats against the spectator’s well being, was caught on camera.
Cooper isn’t due to face the Group 10 judiciary until next Thursday night but, preferring to be proactive in its stance, the Blayney executive committee met last Tuesday night to determine what steps needed to be taken to punish the club’s under-fire mentor.
In doing so, the Bears decided to stand Cooper down from all coaching and playing duties for Sunday’s clash with the Tigers at King George Oval, a match likely to decide who finishes 2014 with the wooden spoon.
Any further punishment will be handed down by Group 10.
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“We stood him down on Tuesday. We can’t condone that sort of behaviour,” Bears president Adam Hornby said.
“He copped a bit on the way off, turned around a gave a bit back and that’s probably the worst thing that could happen.
“The Bathurst ground manager probably could have done more, but I’m not blaming him, (Cooper) has done the wrong thing and we’ll cop whatever punishment he gets.”
Hornby wouldn’t say whether Cooper’s round 16 tirade will affect his possible reappointment as captain-coach in 2015.
“That’s something we’ll have to discuss after next Thursday,” he added.
One of the most polarising figures in the premiership, this season has been the former Orange CYMS and Orange Hawks prop’s first as a captain-coach in Group 10.
Hornby defended the decision to hand Cooper the coaching reins of the Blayney club, in just its second year back in the competition.
“He’s been tremendous for us this year,” Hornby said.
“He’s shattered with himself. As I said, he’s been great for us this season. He hasn’t missed a training session, he’s a great coach.”
Hornby said the most disappointing aspect out of the entire saga was comparisons to last year’s end-of-season meltdown from Lithgow star Jono Van Veen.
The Workies backrower was handed a 15-month ban after physically attacking a rival spectator at Tony Luchetti Sportsground during last year’s semi-final series.
“We’re very disappointed it’s being compared to Jono Van Veen. TC hasn’t hit anyone, and that’s exactly what Jono did,” Hornby fired.
“That’s not the type of player TC is.”